Hundreds of Bengalureans took to the streets in protest against the city's civic authorities on Wednesday. The citizens were protesting as the authorities did not pay heed to their demand for a skywalk on the Outer Ring Road in Bellandur.
The protest saw a huge turnout, where the citizens made a human chain. Asha Suresh, the local corpora
These protests were triggered because of the death of 19-year-old Sanjay Giri, who used to work as a security guard at the Akme Harmony apartment complex. On November 29, he was run over by a speeding cab, and lay at the spot for 45 minutes before help arrived.
“When we took him to the hospital, he was declared dead. It is not only for him that we are protesting. There is a bus stop on either side of the road. As there are no proper signs or speed breakers, people usually travel at high speeds. So, people are forced to run to cross the road without getting hit. We are protesting so that the BBMP takes notice and builds a skywalk,” said Navneet Kumar, an IT professional.
“What happened to Sanjay could happen to any of us,” he told TNM, and stressed that the presence of bus stops on either side of the road makes it all the more important to ensure that a skywalk is built.
However, the protest for a skywalk isn’t new.
Speaking to TNM, Kishori, one of the people leading the protest, said:
“It is not about one section. The whole Bellandur community came together. The turnout was beyond our expectations. Although calming the crowd was difficult, we managed to have a discussion with the Corporator, and CI (Circle Inspector) Rajasekhar of the HSR Traffic Police Station.”
“We had a discussion on the same issue two-and-a-half years ago, before Asha Suresh was elected. Mahadevapura MLA Arav
Asha's husband Suresh, who was also present at the protest, denied ever making such a promise, which incensed the crowd.
“Even the corporator's husband and officials of the HSR police station almost came to blows as they kept putting the blame on each other. We demanded a specific date as we are done with listening to excuses,” one of the protesters said.
However, Wednesday’s protests didn’t prove futile and did yield the residents of Bellandur some respite.
As a temporary measure, the HSR Traffic Police Station will deploy one constable in the morning and one constable in the evening until the skywalk is built.
The protesters also demanded that speed breakers be built on the service roads, and that proper signage be installed.
Traffic police constable posted at the spot on Thursday morning
After Wednesday’s protests, Asha promised that a meeting will be held between the protesters, BBMP Commissioner
Outer Ring Road - a death trap?
The nearest skywalk from the spot where Sanjay was hit is in the tech park, Ecospace.
The skywalk was built in August 2016 by the Outer Ring Roads Companies Association, an umbrella organisation of 30 companies having their offices on either side of the Outer Ring Road. The Outer Ring Road was meant to be a signal-free high-speed vehicle corridor encircling the city, but became densely populated as offices and industries were set up along it as the city expanded.
From Ibblur to Marathahalli al
Although there is no specific data on the number of deaths on Outer Ring Road, the Home Department, in a written reply to MLC T A Saravana, admitted that it is one of the worst stretches for pedestrians.